A Winter packing guide for Iceland

Living in the beautiful Surrey countryside where winters are rainy and dark it probably doesn’t strike you as odd that I crave sunshine on my holidays and endless days relaxing, before watching the sunset with a beer in hand. For years every summer my family would embark on a holiday during the long summer break to the warmer climates of Italy, Portugal and the Greek islands for lazy villa days or european city breaks.

In fact I haven’t visited a cold country since I was 9 and I spent Christmas in Austria so spending a holiday somewhere with snow again was quite literally a refreshing event! Looking at Iceland with temperatures of -3 we were on the hunt for packing ideas to make sure we stayed nice and warm during our great adventure.

Primarily this packing for Iceland guide is designed for winter holidays although its worth noting that the weather in this country can change very quickly throughout the year. Packing layers is essential and can allow you to modify your clothing without packing too much (although I still used the whole 23kg allowance). Because due to the gulf stream temperatures in Iceland are more mild then you would first think!

To make things nice and easy for you for when you visit this stunning country, I have complied a list to help you with your packing for Iceland during winter…

Base Layers packing for Iceland

The base layers you wear closest to your skin under your regular clothes will be your saving grace! Be sure to avoid cotton as its important to invest in thermal base layers that are breathable.

Long sleeved top – Keep your top half warm from the wind and invest in thermal polo neck tops and long sleeved tops from places like Marks & Spencer.

Thermal trousers – I recommend purchasing some merino wool leggings they are very warm and incredibly comfortable, on the days when I didn’t wear them I massively regretted it. Again make sure you purchase these outside of the ski season when places like Mountain Warehouse are eager to clear their stock.

Mid Layers packing for Iceland

In between your base layer and your outer layers you need to layer up in order to keep nice and toasty during your holiday in Iceland. This is when the fleece comes into its own!

Fleece sweaters – My favourite brand is Karrimor, of course you can buy other brands (this isn’t sponsored) but I’ve often found them to be unbeatable for warmth and quality. They will last you a long time and places like Sports Direct often do offers where you can buy two fleeces for a special price (did you notice I love a bargain). Make sure you bring a couple of these with you to act as your mid layer of clothing.

Hiking trousers – Comfortable and fast drying, they often have a layer of fleece inside them as well and are a better option then jeans. Bring a extra pair in your bag in case you want to change during the day.

Outer Layers packing for Iceland

Iceland is the second windiest country in the world and unsurprisingly the wind in Iceland can be bitterly cold so packing windproof clothing is essential.

Wind and waterproof jacket – I opted for a Nevica ski jacket and you can find cheap ones very easily on the high street now especially if you buy them outside ski season. Essentially you want something that is warm and will protect you from the bitter wind storms!

Warm hat – I’m a hat person there is no doubt about it, my bobble hat is my trade mark but annoyingly I forgot it for this trip so my brother stepped in and I borrowed his blue hat which went perfectly with my ski jacket! But there are plenty of options out there for you to look into at relatively low prices.

Wind and waterproof gloves – Keep your fingers warm and toasty so its easier to regain use of them again for those vital photo opportunities! Invest in gloves that you can clip to your jacket though or you risk losing them just like my brother did at the waterfall! S

Salopettes – French for overalls, salopettes are a ski holiday staple but something you should bring with you to Iceland. I love making a statement with the brace style ski pants but you can ditch the suspenders and buy ones without if you’d prefer. They repel water, provide warmth and can be tailored to enhance movement.

Snood – You can wrap this round your neck and over your head it has the same effect as a hoodie! I strongly recommend you purchase one, I wouldn’t have survived the icy Golden Circle tour without mine. When the wind grabs hold of you having a snood is something you will be extremely grateful for.

Sensible attire for Iceland

Spending as much time as possible exploring the great outdoors and the nature that Iceland has to offer you will want to make sure you wear the most sensible attire to ensure your comfort throughout your trip.

Snow boots- Keep your feet nice and toasty and opt for footwear that allows you to explore your surroundings safely. Aside from the warmth factor a big pro of snow boots is the grip that they allow you for walking safely across snow and ice (although try telling my parents that!). For extreme conditions such as visiting glaciers you might want to add snow grips to your boots. They give your ankles support and protect your feet from the cold and wet conditions – just make sure you don’t tie the laces up too tight!

Rucksack – The easiest way to carry everything around with you during the day and whilst on day trips. Choose a lightweight and small waterproof option if possible to keep your packed lunches and valuables safe. You don’t want to lug anything to heavy around with you or you will end up with back strain.

Warm socks – Avoid cotton and invest in Merino wool socks, yes they are time consuming to put on but keeping your toes cosy and intact is much more important.

Other Iceland packing Essentials

Iceland can be expensive, so in order to visit this country on a shoestring, without spending a fortune it might be a good idea to pack some dry food to enjoy whilst you are away. Every time I go away I discover more packing essentials for my next trip away, there are now some home comforts that I wouldn’t leave home without. Below is my list of other essential items that you should bring with you to Iceland…

  • Hot Water Bottle
  • Pasta
  • Porridge/ breakfast cereals
  • Gin (from duty free)
  • Cup a Soups
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Flasks
  • Medicines e.g paracetamol, deep heat
  • Go Pro
  • Camera
  • Charger for all electrical items
  • Travel book
  • Sandwich bags
  • Tea bags
  • Coffee
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Travel plug converter
  • Some money in cash form

Are you planning to visit Iceland? Let me know in the comments below! Be sure to subscribe so you can see my upcoming posts all about my recent adventures in Iceland.


Leave a Reply


  1. April 30, 2019 / 19:56

    This is so helpful Elle! Iceland’s been on my bucket list for ages and I’ll definitely need this packing list as soon as I head there! 🙂

    • ellegoesglobal
      June 8, 2019 / 09:11

      I’m glad it helped 🙂 Let me know when you head there as I’d be happy to offer some tips

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